Solar Impulse Funded To Fly Again


Solar Impulse has raised the $29 million needed to complete the nonprofit group’s round-the-world trip in a solar-powered aircraft, co-founder Andre Borschberg said at the Paris climate summit this week. The group plans to launch in April to fly from Hawaii to North America, and then continue on to Abu Dhabi, where they launched last year. “The financial side is under control,” Borschberg said. “We are all very focused and looking forward to continuing next year. We know we can do it, but it remains a challenge.” The landing site after the flight from Hawaii will depend on weather, Borschberg said. Vancouver, San Francisco, Los Angeles or Phoenix are all possibilities.

Piccard and Borschberg with President Obama in Paris

During last July’s long flight from Asia to Hawaii, the aircraft’s batteries overheated, and since then the team has been working to redesign and replace the system to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Once the system is complete, the team must conduct test flights and then wait for the best weather window. By April, the days are long enough to allow adequate sunlight to recharge the aircraft’s batteries during flight. Borschberg and Solar Impulse co-founder Bertrand Piccard are attending the United Nations’ Conference on Climate Change to spread their message that renewable energy technologies can help prevent carbon-dioxide emissions.